Ending the War on the Non-Drug Known as Hemp

by | Jan 11, 2019 | Headline News | 34 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This article was originally published by Chris Calton at the Mises Institute

    With the recent legalization of hemp in the United States, one may ask the question of why it was ever illegal to begin with. Being a non-psychoactive form of cannabis, its uses were entirely industrial. One need not be a libertarian to recognize that the prohibition of hemp ranks among the most absurd and pointless laws our government passed in the twentieth century.

    Prior to the War on Drugs, the United States had a long history of hemp production, going all the way back to the colonial era and Britain even before that. Before governments arrested people for growing hemp, they used to fine farmers for not growing it. In the sixteenth century, King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I fined English farmers who failed to contribute to the country’s hemp industry. In 1673, King Charles II instructed the Royal Governor of Virginia to impose the edict on the Virginia colonists.1 Hemp was particularly valuable to the Royal Navy, which used it for uniforms, ropes, and sails, among other things.

    It is relatively common knowledge that several Founding Fathers of the United States grew hemp. Occasionally, pro-marijuana activists will cite this as evidence that the Founders smoked cannabis, but there is no evidence to support this, and the recreational or medicinal use of marijuana did not come to the United States until the nineteenth century. But for industrial purposes, figures as prestigious as George Washington grew hemp, following the instructions detailed in the pamphlet “A Treatise of Hemp-Husbandry,” authored by Edmund Quincy, a cousin of President John Adams.

    Although it was never known as a staple crop, hemp production remained prevalent in certain southern states. During the Missouri-Kansas border war of the 1850s, the password for acceptance into southern camps was “all right on the hemp,” and members pinned hemp leaves to their shirts to signal allegiance to their side.2

    But in 1937, due to the crusade of Harry Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics that was facing budget cuts during the Great Depression, cannabis was criminalized. When the law was passed, there was concern that it would be used to stamp out the hemp industry. Anslinger promised that his men would leave industrial hemp alone.

    Anslinger lied. When the United States entered World War II at the end of 1941, the hemp industry had been completely wiped out. The problem now was that the US military needed hemp, and a lot of it. Military and naval technology may have come a long way since Henry VIII issued his compulsory hemp-growing edict to support the Royal Navy of the sixteenth century, but hemp fibers retained a multitude of uses. And going into the biggest military conflict of the twentieth century, the US had no domestic source of hemp, despite a centuries-long tradition of producing it.

    In response, the same government that empowered Anslinger to completely destroy the hemp industry now approved funding for enormous subsidies to American farmers to restart the hemp industry that had been flourishing without subsidies only five years earlier. To remind them that hemp-growing was their patriotic duty, the government even commissioned a propaganda film entitled Hemp for Victory.

    But when the war was over, the benefits of hemp production were forgotten once again and Anslinger was able to send his men out to destroy what remained of the government-subsidized hemp industry. At the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars, his crusade to eradicate the evils of marijuana amounted to little more than the destruction of the low-THC outgrowth of industrial hemp.

    In the 70 years since, hemp products have been legally imported from other countries, despite the US having soil that is perfectly suited for a lucrative hemp industry. The recent re-legalization of hemp in the United States is a far cry from the sweeping reforms needed to end the disastrous War on Drugs, but it is certainly a step in the right direction that overturns what may be the most pointlessly destructive law in the past century.


    • 1.William W. Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large: Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia (Richmond, 1809–23), vol. 2, p. 306.
    • 2.Nicole Etcheson, Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2004), p. 56.

    Chris Calton is a 2018 Mises Institute Research Fellow and an economic historian. He is writer and host of the Historical Controversies podcastSee also his YouTube channel here.


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      1. More glorification of weed. Another downward spiral in our society. The truth is, weed is another highly addictive substance that compromises souls. It is another method to numb yourself from the troubles in your life. I can buy other rope. Keep your dope including CBD and all of the BS health benefits. Dopers are just using this angle to legitimize their abuse of this drug. You are persistent like the gays. I have this agenda flaunted in my face daily. The truth is we will have more people driving down our roads, working and going to school wasted on this stuff. One puff, bite, vape and you are wasted all day long. Find Jesus, his words are the only way to remove your burdens.

        • Government/Politicians have decided that legalisation can line Their OWN pockets better than prohibition. Lines the pockets of politicians and FILLS the TAX coffers of ill gotten gains by the state. They are always looking to steal and rob for their self enrichment.

          Politicians want a stoned populace, so that the politicians, can STEAL even more money from the people. Raise taxes, take your guns, make up more idiotic “laws”. Politicians can take away all the rights of a stoned populace. Stoners only care about one thing, getting stoned.

          Marijuana is a DANGEROUS addictive gateway drug to LIFE DESTROYING hard drugs. Those hard drugs KILL, MURDER, DESTROY anyone foolish enough to allow them into their lives. Some things you should NEVER try. NEVER do drugs.

          But realize that hemp is grown as a fiber plant similiar to cotton. Hemp cloth is more rugged/durable than cotton. Hemp clothing does not absorb water like cotton does. So hemp clothing is better for outdoorsman. Cotton clothing will get you killed in the outdoors back country. Hypothermia.

          Hemp as a field crop for fiber does NOT reqiuire the dangerous chemicals for crop production like cotton does. Cotton requires chemicals for pest control. Those chemical pestacides are dangerous to your health. Hemp for fiber use is better for environment than is cotton.

          While hemp is useful as a fiber.

          Marijuana has high THC and is a Dangerous gateway drug. ** Avoid it. If you have PTSD then a few beers and a few dogs for company are a better option.

          If you have severe PTSD or severe arthritus, other legitimate medical ailments. In those cases the evil weed might be an alternative to pharmaceuticals by drug monopoly companies.

          But I would advise most people to stay the hell away from ALL drugs. From doctor or street, all are bad for you and have side effects. Side effects are worse than the original ailment that you suffer.

          Myself I won’t even take tylenol or aspirin. Drugs will kill you. Stay away from all of them.
          Tobbacco will kill you. Stay away from it.

          Booze will kill you, and kill others around you. Stay away from it. You should Not tip the jug until you are well past 65 years of age. At that age the pains and aches might justify the down side?

          Marijuan is DANGEROUS gateway drug. Best avoided by young productive people.

          A few beers will work to ease aches and pains. A few beers work just as well with fewer side effects, as pharmacueticals. Just don’t operate chain saws, axes, or drive while lit up on beer. If auto crash, You might live but kill an innocent family with children. What a mess. Don’t drink and drive. Stay out of jail or maybe prison.

          I am tired of the pro marijuana articles on this site. I am inclined to Avoid any association with those who advocate poor judgement, poor choices. Just because an industry offers a profit potential does NOT mean you should have anything to do with it.

          Does this web site no longer have morals?
          Do you as a person have no conscience or morals?
          Are you like a politician?

          Marijuan is DANGEROUS gateway drug. Avoid it.
          Listen or don’t listen. Your life friends.

        • Jesus would smoke weed.

        • Theres no CBD in hemp…
          And i dont believe there’s any glorification of weed in the article

      2. Why was hemp maid illegal?

        Plastics-Petroleum-Rothschild- money


        • Yup ,one thing we really need is something that makes people even more
          stupid than they usually are. Even better they can spend all their money on it and then get welfare from me.

          • 2 Types of people in the world.

            Those who want to be left alone, and the rest who wont leave you alone.

            Smoke it, if you got it.

          • do you even know what hemp is..?

        • DuPont and William Randolph Hearts to be more specific.






        • FYI Beware:
          Governments don’t want your older vehicles on the road.
          Because it is more difficult for them to keep track of you.
          Manufactures are in bed with government to IMPLANT surviellance tech into the NEW vehicle that YOU pay for.
          Government is pure EVIL. New vehicles are ALWAYS tracked.

          Everything Government does is to STEAL from you, Control you, track you, surviell you, snitch on you. They consider YOU the enemy. ** Look up 4gw **, the government now considers thier own people the enemy. Happening world wide. They ALL serve only the Beast.

          Welcome to Amerikka. Facial recognition, rfid, smart dust, cellular tracking, blacklists, red lists, 5g surviel and KILL grid, 5G is a weapon. Food will be used as a weapon.

          You should consider leaving. Writing is on the wall. Satanic Beast system is here. You are paying for it! Paying for your own tech matrix Prison control system.

      3. There’s a hemp maid? Where is she?

        • Or was it hump a maid?

        • Another fine example of Public Edumufucation.

      4. As a sailor “on the hard” I will take Kevlar, polyester, Dacron, Mylar, Nylon, et al over Hemp any day.
        I agree it was stupid to outlaw hemp as it is useful
        I’m against the criminalization of drugs in general.
        Typically when Democrats make a law they don’t
        rationally examine what they are doing, so they
        obliterate the baby and the bathwater,
        rather that just throw it out,
        to get their way.

      5. Haven’t seen any hemp products on the shelves yet. Hemp can replace many fossil fuel intensive manufacturing methods for less cost. With hemp used to its full potential this nation actually has a future with respect to a much needed natural plant based revolution. We can grow a better, cleaner environment. Try to tell that to the oil-pentagon-warmongers.

      6. Why was hemp made illegal? Simple answer is that there are corporations conspiring to create an illegal order to control and sometimes eliminate useful natural products that benefit humanity and replace them with inferior, often dangerous, and synthetic products where ever and when ever possible. This illegal order operates behind the scenes and above the law to influence what is typically considered the legitimate government. It can perhaps best be described as a communist-anarchy whereby the power is wielded by a loosely connected group of major corporations. The pharmaceutical industry perhaps more blatantly than any other industry illustrates the tyranny and power imposed upon the citizenry. However, astute observers can nowadays recognize collusion amongst tech companies to wield their power and influence. And the different industries have a natural tendency to work together toward the detriment of humanity to impose their will and shape opinion.

      7. The end conclusions of my statement of above is that “the government that governs least is the government that governs best” along with that notion is the sole most important role of government is to protect the liberty of the individual. Perhaps more will be said later as to how these final conclusions are reached.

      8. Only the most rudimentary moron would deny that any if human man, woman or hermaphrodite at its most primitive level of existence were to find itself thirsty and that if it were raining that if capable it were to merely open its mouth it could have water. I am. I am thirsty. It is raining. I can open my mouth. I can have water. And here it is illustrated the natural means to use the environment to sustain life. For believers in God it is known as Free Will to be. To exist. I am. Further, it is asserted by our founders, and appropriately so, that our rights are derived from God our creator. This fundamental right to use the means of the environment created by God to sustain and benefit our lives and well being is possibly not so well delineated by our constitution yet neverless it obviously exist as illustrated by the rain example above.

        Perhaps you are thinking that this so obvious it should not be said but Interestingly, over reaching big government in the state of Oregon has declared it illegal to collect rain in rain barrels for personal consumption. This is merely one example of the never ending goal of big government to have 100% absolute control.

      9. Its about time.

      10. They altered the classification for Cannibis to Schedule 1 which is the same as Heroin which is flat out nuts and especially since Hemp has no THC.

        Fear based propaganda.

        • You should know that some Mary Jane is very potent which historically was not typical unless one smoked Hawaiian versions at premium prices. But all the growers competing resulted in breeding this potency and so some people get a paranoid condition nicknamed the old African American slang word for white people ie those unused to smoking it like some dumb rich white kid slacker…who then goes haywire and sweats and gets extreme anxiety.

          It is unpleasant to watch some stupid kid have a minor meltdown.

          I really think using drugs is stupid. I hate it. I have seen families bankrupted by it and good kids turn out bad and expensive treatment and arguments and broken hearts.

          Is it worth it?

          • Since the seventies, the number one unofficial cashcrop in Kentucky was weed. So this is nothing new. It’s always been here. It’s always been used. It grows wild. It was largely ignored. I’m glad that hemp is no big deal but it’s just a prelude to legal Mary Jane.

            Mostly in the old days, our version made people sleepy not outta yer gourd or paranoid. Even back then some cops used it.

            • “Greening out” is the newer name that used to be called “a case of whit_y”.

              • Green is the new Red.

      11. Our founders in its primary document the Declaration of Independence spoke of our guiding principles being recognition of Natural Law, Nature’s God and Self Evident Truths with regard to the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

        “I am. I am thirsty. It is raining. I can open my mouth. I can have water.” Is there any person in their right mind that can deny this construct as Natural Law, in following of Nature’s God and a Self Evident Truth?

      12. Oh gloom, despair and agony on end, deep dark depression and excessive misery for Indiana’s prison/factory scam.

      13. This is being done so that multi-national corporations, especially Monsanto/Beyer, can dominate and control the hemp industry.

        It will be cultivated and manufactured in China from GMO stock.

        This I can assure you.

      14. 13 years was all it took after the 18th to realize PROHIBITION caused far more chaos and destruction to society than the deadly, addictive, gateway drug ALCOHOL ever could. 80+ years later still failing completely except all of the cartels, legal and illegal, with societies worldwide suffering as we did before the 21st. long past time for a new approach.

      15. 1/3 of the population can’t name all four of their grandparents.

        1/5 of the population don’t even know who their father was.

        The bottom 60% take more out than they pay in.

        America is in deep deep shit.

        • Maybe MJ really does kill brain cells.

      16. Approximately 7.5 million children and adolescents are currently on and have been prescribed psychiatric drugs in the United States. Of those approximately 125,000 are 0-1 years of age. These numbers are only the current stats and do not reflect children who were on psychiatric drugs but now are adults. These numbers also do not include the children who have taken these pills as they are undoubtedly passed from child to child as we all know what kids will do to get high these days. Talk about screwing up kids brains, scary huh!

        • There is no test that conclusively indicates mental illness. There is no proof medications can treat what may not exist.

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